Roof repair: The basics you should know

Roof repair can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Though the roof is one of the...

Roof repair can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Though the roof is one of the more important features of any inhabited structure, it is usually also one of the simpler areas to repair. However, there are times when a professional may be needed.


Though you may see the pros using a pneumatic nail gun or even its predecessor, the shingle staple gun, you can do the same job with hand tools. A utility knife, a good hammer (a 14-ounce one should do the trick), a ladder, and roofing nails should get you through most minor roof repair jobs.

Common roofing materials

Okay, so you've decided that you're going to try and tackle that leaky roof on your own. No problem, there are just a few things you need to be aware of before you begin your personal handyman's journey. Namely, what the heck is your roof made out of anyway?

Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far the most common shingle type in the United States; most experts place the percentage of homes with this type of shingle somewhere between 68 and 75 percent. These shingles are applied to your roof in layers, with the actual shingle being the top layer. Beneath this is the deck (usually plywood), the underlayment and your drip edge. In years past, the underlayment was simply felt paper with a tar-based adhesive, acting as an extra layer of moisture repellant. These days, most contractors use a polymer sheet for the same effect. Because of the nature of the materials and the relatively simple means of installation, most asphalt shingle repair can be performed by the property owner.

Clay tiles

Much more popular in the Southwest, you can still find clay tiles from time to time near the city. That being said, clay tile roofs are a much more complicated and delicate matter, though the basic functioning premise remains unchanged. If you have more than three or four cracked or chipped tiles, you'll need to contact a professional roofer to remove your existing tiles and re-install them.

Steel panel

Most of the steel panel roofs you see are likely to be what are called "standing seam" roofs. In this design, two metal panels are joined at their sides and secured using concealed fasteners, forming a water-tight seam. Generally, once a steel panel roof is installed, it requires very little maintenance. But as with clay tiles, if you are having issues with your steel panel roof, contact a professional immediately.

Whether you're still set to knock out that leak or you've decided to leave it to the pros, take a look around Kudzu to find the materials or professional you need!

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